The Snake Pit

“Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived.”

Numbers 21:6-9

So Israel screws up (again) and as a result, God’s hand of blessing and protection are removed long enough to result in an epidemic of snakes infiltrating the area where they live. The snakes lead Israel to repentance, and with that repentance they make a request: they want Moses to ask God to take away the snakes.

But God didn’t take away the snakes. People still got bit. They still had to have their guard up. However, God did provide a means of deliverance from total destruction. If they trusted in God enough to look to the solution he provided, they wouldn’t die.

I think we often pray and ask God to take away sin and temptation from our lives. We often pray that God would remove challenges and difficult circumstances.

But sometimes, that isn’t his plan. We still get bitten, we still have to deal with dangers lurking around us. Sin still stalks us through the corridors of life.

We can choose whether to let it destroy us completely, or to look to the solution God provided: his Messiah that hung suspended between heaven and earth on the cross. In looking to him, we find that we are allowed to live and not die. We are delivered from that things that would normally destroy us.

I sometimes wish that God would just take away the snakes and let me live a life of comfort and peace. But I don’t get a vote. So I am left with two choices: look to cross and receive life or spite myself by ignoring him.

I hate being snakebit. I don’t like having to deal with the brokenness of myself and others on a daily basis. But I’m deeply grateful that God has heard the cry for forgiveness that has gone up to him out of the wilderness of this world and responded with salvation.